I thoroughly enjoy a challenge, so I set myself the task of finding an activity that doesn’t require boozing, for each letter of the alphabet:
A – Art
One of the many positive things that people report when they stop drinking or cut down, is that their creativity blossoms. So get busy with those hands that used to be full of shots and get creating! Pottery classes, life drawing, or even checking out some art galleries are all excellent ways to spend your time.
B – Bowling
There were many, many things that I could I have chosen for ‘B’ but I settled on this one as my favourite. It’s a great way to spend time with your friends, family or lovers and it appeals to all ages. You can pretend you don’t like bowling but we all know you do. It’s also the perfect activity to fill any time of day, so if you’re looking for ideas for a night out that includes boozers and non-boozers alike, bowling works really well – your companions can drink if they like and you’ll be too busy with your balls in the gutter to care.
C – Club Soda
That’s us! We host workshops, we arrange pub crawls, we run lunch meetups, host a monthly LGBTQ+ night and we curate festivals – all of which are great ways to socialise with like-minded people without the booze. It’s easy to want to retreat into yourself and stick to the comfort of your home, when you don’t have the confidence cape of alcohol, but it really helps to get out there and start breaking down those behaviour patterns – so what better way to do this than with a bunch of awesome people who feel just like you.
D – Driving
Got a car? Got a motorbike? Go get some of the sweet open road, which is right at the top of the things you can’t do whilst drinking. Plan a road trip, pack a bag, or just wing it and head in one direction playing the “Left or Right” game as you go- a game which literally involves choosing left or right on the spot whenever you have a choice. You could end up going in a circle, or you could end up driving off into the sunset on a journey of dreams.
E – Exercise!
Whether it’s yoga, boxing, swimming, running, cycling or a big old hike through a forest and up a mountain, exercise is waaaay easier to do when you’re not nursing a hangover or just straight up drunk. It’s good for you physically, mentally, emotionally, you name it – and it’s the perfect way to spend time alone or with company.
F – Food
Cooking is a satisfying way to get creative and if you don’t feel like making it yourself, you can head out to be fed by someone else. Outside of the UK, most places focus on food as the main event of an evening – none of this “eating’s cheating” bullsh*t. Whether it’s a great dinner out, a picnic in the park, a Taco Tuesday night at home, feeding sexy oysters to your lover, or shifting your socialising time to earlier in the day for a brunch catch up with friends – food gives us energy, it excites us (me), and it’s a subject about which many people feel very passionately.
G – Games
Not sure what to do with Christmas Day now that you’re not drinking from 9am? Play some games. Going to the pub with your friends and dreading hours of watching people get p*ssed? Choose a pub with board games, pool or darts. Find Sunday evenings at home with your family or other half difficult without the habitual drink? Play a game. On your own and bored? Play a solo game. Whether you keep it old school or seek out your entertainment online, there’s something for everyone.
H – Horse riding
Another one that’s at the top of the list of things you can’t do when boozed because it really could come back to kick/bite you in the ass. Look up your nearest riding school and get horsing around.
I – Ice skating
I personally really hate ice skating but loads of people really love it for some reason. So yeah, whatever, go skate – and you’re less likely to fall down and lose your fingers to the brutal blades of another skater, on the icy meadow of evil, if you’re not drunk.
J – Junk
Do you know what I definitely wouldn’t have done when I was hungover or still up from the night before? Go to a car boot sale at 6 am. So for this reason, junk is on my list. I’m a huge fan of rummaging through people’s old, unwanted, treasures, whether it’s at a midday jumble sale, an early morning car-boot or an elaborate all-day antique fair or flea market. You really need those shiny news eyes to spot the good stuff, too.
K – Kayaking
There are probably a lot of people who have done, and regularly do, this drunk or hungover – but I’m extremely aware that I need to be fully on-the-ball to not capsize. Danger lurks in deep water, particularly the sea, so being alert is a must.
L – Live music
Most of us will have, at least once in our lives, been to see a band or show that we were really looking forward to, and then get so sh*t faced that we can’t remember any of it. Waste of time, waste of money. If you’re seeing something/someone that you really love, you don’t need anything else. Even though I now moderately drink, gigs are still something I regularly don’t drink at all.
M – Meditation
Meditation is a great way of focusing the mind, so it’s brilliant for anyone who is making changes to their drinking and making more mindful choices. Guided meditations for relaxation are an incredible way of winding down after exercise or before sleeping.
N – Nothing
I’m not being lazy, this is a legitimate entry to the list. We’re all so busy trying to please everyone, or keep our minds off things, or look like we have a great life on social media, or feeling like we’re missing out on things, that we rarely just accept that doing nothing is actually really nice.
O – Orgasm
Orgasms, in my opinion, are more easily achieved without the numbing sensation that booze brings. Sober sex regularly comes up as this grim monster-in-the-cupboard type scenario for anyone who’s new to the mindful drinking scene – but it’s just… better. Confidence and vulnerability are the main issues for most, but vulnerability is key to personal growth when we’re not smothering it with things to make it go away, and confidence truly flourishes when you’re challenging yourself without a mask to hide behind.
P – Pampering
Book yourself in for a massage, or spend a day at a spa, or just have a bath at home and give yourself a pamper session. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t love a face mask and fluffy dressing gown.
Q – Quiz
Quiz nights, whether in a pub or at home, are a social, mindful, fun way to spend time with people – and you’ll be quicker/brighter than all the drowsy beer fiends.
R – Retail therapy
It’s materialistic yes but we’re all consumers of something, so whether you’re into clothes, tools, gadgets, candles, stationery or stamps, treat yourself now and again.
S – Sunrise
When you see sunrise touching the city rooftops on your way home from a night out, or edging through the crack in the curtains at the end of a house party, you’re usually filled with a feeling of dread and remorse. But if you get up bright and early after a reasonably early night to watch it rise, with eyes that fully work and a brain that’s not melting, it’s a pretty rad way to start the day.
T – Theatre
Plays, pantomimes, musicals, opera, ballet and movie theatres all provide a spectacular feast for the senses, so take a date, go alone, grab some mates or take your family – AND you won’t have to remortgage your house or sell all your vinyl after several drinks from the theatre bar.
U – University
That was a tough one. By university, I mean learning. If you’re starting to make some changes to your life, then chances are you might be open to trying your hand at something new – or would like to embrace your sharpened focus and productivity. So whether it’s an evening class, a YouTube session or going back to school – learning is cool.
V – Volunteering
If you find yourself with a little extra time and you’re not one for self-indulgence, then there are plenty of volunteering opportunities out there – and you don’t have to travel to the other side of the world to help those in need. Start with your local authorities or head to a charity/cause which means something to you to find out what you can do.
W – Walking
Yes, it’s a form of exercise but it’s also a form of discovery and meditation. A gentle stroll can be just what a tired mind or old injury needs, a brisk walk can beat a lot of London buses and an aimless wander can cause you to stumble upon places and things that you wouldn’t have noticed if you’d driven or caught public transport.
X – X Edge
Otherwise known as “Straight Edge” is a hardcore punk movement which emerged in the 80’s after a song released by Minor Threat. Members of the movement refrain from drinking alcohol and using drugs (and often encourage veganism). So if you like punk, hardcore or heavy music in general and are looking for somewhere new to mosh without boozing – then head to a straight edge show or festival.
Y – Yacking
Talking is not only a form of therapy for you, it’s a necessary way to learn about other people. A lot of people feel like they don’t have anything interesting or funny to say without alcohol but it’s simply not true. Even with complete opposites, we can find common ground, if you listen and are fully present. And once you’ve ticked off all the stuff on this list? Well, you’ll be the star of any conversation.
Z – Zero In
To “Zero in” is a way of focusing your attention on something. If you’re setting out on a path of sobriety or moderate drinking, you’ll learn new things about yourself along the way. Go inward, embrace these new things, learn to be present, mindful, plan and set yourself goals to keep you on track.
If you’re thinking of doing a sober sprint, would like to cut down your drinking, stop for a while or quit completely – you can sign up to our FREE mailing list for advice, inspiration, events information and more. You can also join our private Facebook group to access our webinars live and to share stories, advice, and support with like-minded people on different stages of their journeys. Want to keep socialising but not sure which places are good for alcohol-free drink choices? Head to our Club Soda pub guide where we list the best places for mindful drinkers.